Benefits of Using Puppets in the Classroom

February 12, 2022

Puppets can be an engaging and useful way to help students develop emotionally and grow their language and communication skills. However, as parents and teachers, using puppets may not be something we are familiar or comfortable with doing. Hopefully, these tips will help you incorporate puppets into your teaching routine, homeschool curriculum and be an addition to your children’s emotional development activities.

What does the research say about puppets?
Puppets allow children to engage in imaginative play that differs from dolls and other figures. Children have the opportunity to bring puppets to life in a unique way. While using puppets, children are able to project their own emotions onto the puppet. Research suggests that children view puppets more like a peer than an adult, so their interactions with puppets match that feeling. This makes children more likely to explain their ideas and answers to a puppet than to the adult operating the puppet. Just as children are more likely to listen to or talk to a peer, that same feeling applies to puppets.

Research shows that using puppets in education has many benefits, especially with language skills. Children can practice their oral speaking skills by telling a story to a puppet or explaining words or expressions. If the puppet is “confused” and doesn’t understand something, the child can explain and show the puppet what he has learned. A 2015 study investigated the learning impact of puppets in a kindergarten classroom. Their findings showed a tremendous impact of puppet use on a child’s education. The puppet helped to motivate students and involve them in the learning process, it created an emotional relationship with students and added a playful mood to the learning environment. Additionally, the puppet enabled teachers to elaborate more on the topic they were covering, have a more direct conversation with students and maintain positive behaviour in the classroom (Ronit, 2015).

What are the benefits of using puppets in the classroom?
In the early childhood/preschool classroom:

  • Puppets are a good tool to get young children’s attention.
  • Puppets help students act out everyday scenarios.
  • Puppets, especially finger puppets, allow little ones to transform into anything they want.
  • Puppets are a good visual representation to use when singing, dancing, or storytelling.

In kindergarten and primary classrooms:

  • Puppets are a good way to deliver information to students and help them retain it.
  • Student use of puppets helps them to retell information they’ve learned and remember it.
  • Teachers can use puppets to demonstrate proper pronunciation to help students develop language skills.
  • Puppets can help shy students feel comfortable speaking in front of the class because the puppet is answering, not them (Belfiore, 2016).

How can I incorporate puppets into the classroom or in a homeschool curriculum?
Use puppets to help you check for understanding with your students.

  • Once you’ve covered a topic, you can have students explain it to the puppet. Or, your puppet might be confused and the students can answer his questions. Use puppets to develop literacy skills.
  • Students can read to the puppet or they can read as the puppet. Both ways help students practice their literacy skills.
  • Use puppets to develop oral speaking skills.
  • This is especially helpful for shy or timid students who may be nervous to speak during class. Have students explain a concept or give an answer through the use of a puppet.
  • Use puppets to help set behaviour expectations.
  • Have puppets act out scenarios and then let students discuss and decide how they would respond.
  • Create scenarios with your puppets to teach classroom rules and procedures.
  • Use puppets to facilitate conflict/resolution between students.
  • This is a great way to help students act out their feelings and resolve their problems. It’s also a great lesson in empathy.
  • Use puppets for imaginative play.
  • Let students create their own scenarios and stories using their puppets.

There are endless ways to use puppets in the classroom or at home! Little ones need ways to express their emotions and have a gentle way for children to participate in class which shows the importance of puppetry. Puppets allow for this and so much more! Puppets are wonderful rainy day and hands-on activities too! Engaging social and emotional learning activities for your preschooler and toddlers.

Belfiore, C. (2016). Puppets talk, children listen. Retrieved from //
Ronit, R., & Tzuriel, D. (2015). I teach better with the puppet – use of puppet as a mediating tool in kindergarten education – an evaluation. American journal of educational research, 3(3), 356-365. doi: 10.12691/education-3-3-15.

What is Kindness? Why is kindness important?

January 6, 2022

It feels good to be kind and science agrees! A study in Great Britain had participants take a survey about their life satisfaction. Then, participants were divided into three groups: the first group was instructed to perform a random act of kindness every day for ten days. The second group was told to do something new each day, and the third group received no specific instructions. Afterward, the participants took the life satisfaction survey again. Those who performed a random act of kindness had a big boost in their happiness according to the survey. So, even performing acts of kindness over a short period of time had big benefits for overall satisfaction. Additionally, a second study focused on how previous acts of kindness inspire future acts of kindness. The results of the study showed that when people felt happy about their previous acts of kindness, they were more likely to show more kindness in the future.

These studies show that being kind improves our lives. The more kindness we show, the more likely we are to continue showing kindness. The implications for our children are important. If we teach our children to be kind, not only with they be happier people, but they will be more likely to share that happiness. If we focused on teaching kindness, we could see things like bullying, teasing, and other hurtful behaviors decline (Dixon, 2011).

How do children learn kindness?
The simple answer is that children learn kindness from grown-ups and the people in their world. As parents and educators, we need to make showing kindness a priority. Our children should see us showing kindness daily to everyone we encounter. Not only that, but we need to provide many opportunities for our children to practice kindness. Additionally, you need to help your child expand their view of whom they should care for. It is easy to show kindness to those we love and spend a lot of time with. However, it is never too early for your children to learn about others who may be less fortunate – both abroad and in their own community. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate and children learn kindness by seeing it and practicing it.

10 Fun Ways to Teach Kindness!
1. Send a secret care package to a friend who needs to be uplifted

  • Brainstorm people in your child’s life that may need cheering up. It could simply be a friend who had a bad day or someone you know who is in the hospital. Make a small basket of goodies to deliver to them anonymously. It is good for your child to want to do kind things without always receiving acknowledgment for their actions!

2. Make someone laugh and smile today

  • This is an easy one that requires nothing to be purchased or made. Ask your child what he or she can do to make others laugh or smile and then practice those things. For example, you could go to a local shop and hold the door open for those entering/exiting. Or, your child could give a hug to a friend or relative. There are plenty of simple, easy things to do every day.

3. Put a kind note in a library book

  • Everyone likes to be reminded that they are loved and special. Write some handwritten notes at home and then make a trip to the library. Tuck the notes into random books in the library to brighten the day of whoever checks those books out in the future.

4. Plant a tree

  • One way to show kindness is to take care of the environment. Not only is planting a tree good for the earth but nurturing and taking care of a plant can help your child learn love and patience.

5. Read a book to someone

  • Your child could pair up with a younger friend or relative and read to them. Or, you could go by a nursing home or hospital and read to someone who is sick or lonely.

6. Write a poem for a friend

  • This is a great way for your child to show kindness toward a friend. An easy way to help your child get started would be to do an acrostic poem and have one line of the poem begin with each letter in the friend’s name.

7. Donate your time by serving others in your community

  • Find a way to give back in your own community. Check and see if there are any organizations that facilitate volunteer work for families in your area. If not, find your own way. This could include passing out care kits to the homeless, volunteering at an animal shelter, or visiting the elderly in nursing homes.

8. Leave a treat for your bus driver, mail carrier, etc…

  • Lots of people provide us services every day that often go underappreciated. Leaving a snack for the mail carrier or bringing cookies to the bus driver is an easy way to help your child learn to show kindness to everyone they encounter.

9. Pick up trash in your neighborhood

  • Not only does this help the environment, it also improves the neighborhood and helps provide a clean place for everyone to play.

10. Make cards and deliver them to a children’s hospital

  • Have your child make some handmade “get well soon” cards and send them to children who are sick and in the hospital.
  • There are so many simple ways to help your child practice showing kindness. This is just a small list to help you get started. Remember, the best way for your child to learn kindness is to see you showing kindness. So make sure to be an active participant in all the kindness activities too!

Dixon, A. (2011). Kindness makes you happy…and happiness makes you kind. Greater good magazine. //
Joyce, A. (2014). Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind. Retrieved from //

Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum

December 4, 2021

Children, whether at home or school, climbing on the playground or wandering peacefully in nature, are learning all the time, at every moment. Although structured learning is the backbone of the study system in nearly every school, a literacy-based curriculum is emerging as a more natural way for students to acquire social and emotional skills. An innovative way to increase the social and emotional skills of your child or student is through literacy.

What is a literacy-based curriculum?
If you have an early learner at home or in your classroom, you likely already know just how important social and emotional learning is. But if you aren’t yet familiar with a literacy-based curriculum, you are probably wondering exactly how it will benefit the children in your life. Since social emotional learning (SEL) and literacy-based curricula are intricately entwined, the advantages are twofold.

Literacy-based curriculum is any type of instruction where a story is integrated into the learning environment. Young children use the story as a foundation for natural learning experiences in the SEL realm. With a literacy-based curriculum, you won’t find any quizzes or sets of questions to answer. What you will find is a completely organic experience where children relate to the themes of a story and discuss it naturally, leading to stronger levels of social and emotional understanding and competence.

But what does the research tell us?
When learning occurs through a literacy-based curriculum, early learners are better able to absorb and hold onto the all-embracing themes of caring, kindness, and the importance of having a strong community, all of which are needed when trying to navigate the world around them. Research has shown that children exposed to an evidence-based literacy curriculum show improvement in areas of aggression, decision making, and peer involvement. When a literacy-based curriculum becomes the backbone of education, sweeping changes can happen.

What are the benefits of a social and emotional learning curriculum?
A social and emotional learning curriculum will produce benefits in many areas of your early learner’s life.

Community Building – Common themes within a typical literacy-based program will include the importance of community, building friendships, and working together through both hardship and good times. Discussing these ideas and building upon this foundation of strong community will help children (and adults!) find their own community as well. That might be in their school network, their neighborhood, or even their family. When you are a little one navigating through a big, and often scary world, having a strong sense of community is like having a safety net to fall back on.

Fostering Kindness – We live in a volatile political climate, where kindness isn’t often part of the ongoing social commentary. Kids are exposed to a lot of complex and adult situations just by being aware of the world around them. Children need to see and hear ongoing examples of kindness in order to understand what it means to care for others. Literacy based programs often weave themes of kindness within their pages. By building this loving and kind foundation, children will be able to balance out the anger and devastation seen in the world today.

Increased Empathy – Empathy is an emotion that begins in infancy. Babies begin to experience it when they see others cry or get hurt, usually before they are even a year old. When empathy is increased naturally, through reading and storytelling, children are better able to understand what it means to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy is an essential aspect of any thriving child or adult community member and something that needs to be discussed organically in all educational environments.
Promotion of Social Understanding – Little ones don’t always understand social implications. What adult hasn’t laughed at a social faux-pas from a five-year-old? But reading books about different social situations will benefit children immensely. Even though they may not have experienced everything themselves, reading about how social interactions work can have a huge influence on what they understand. Early learners who may need a bit of help with friendly communication will also reap extra benefits in this area.

Increased Academic Learning – While it may not be the primary reason that many parents and educators implement literacy-based programs, academic achievement is an offshoot of social and emotional learning. When children are feeling self-confident in their own abilities, academics become less of a challenge. Since SEL fosters independence, self-confidence, trust, and compassion, early learners naturally begin to make better decisions when it comes to academic challenges.

If you are looking to incorporate a literacy-based curriculum at home or in the classroom, there is an easy way to start. Try picking a set of books that compliment your own values. By simply looking for stories that promote positive social interactions, and emphasize kindness, respect, and empathy, you will be well on your way to helping your early learners develop foundational social and emotional skills.

Benefits of Music in Early Childhood

October 17, 2021

If you have ever spent any time with a young child, you know they love to sing! Even little babies can be found swaying along and bobbing their heads to their favorite tunes. However, don’t just write singing off as something fun or silly that children enjoy; singing actually has lots of educational benefits.

What does the research say?
Research shows that musical experiences in childhood accelerate brain development (Bright Horizons, 2018). Children exposed to music grow up to speak more clearly, have a bigger vocabulary and have stronger social and emotional skills (Steinhoff, 2016). Specifically, singing with young children is shown to develop phonemic (sound) awareness, build listening and comprehension skills, and provide a better disposition to help students learn to read. In order for students to one day enjoy reading, they need to enjoy the skill development that leads to reading (Schiller, 2008).

Benefits of Music in Early Childhood

  • Singing is fun and doesn’t seem like “work” to a child. Therefore it’s a great way to teach new skills.
  • Repetition helps children remember things, so singing a song about a new skill will help them retain the new knowledge.
  • Singing helps students learn the skills necessary for reading. Before they can read words, they can identify rhyming words and sounds through the use of songs.

Benefits of Singing in Early Childhood

  • Have a certain opening and closing song to start and end your day.
  • Use songs as part of your literacy instruction.
    Pick out songs to specifically teach rhyming and alliteration to build your students’ language awareness. You can even have students add on to the songs with other rhyming words and sounds!
  • Use songs to build vocabulary.
    ○ Make sure students know what the words in common nursery rhymes and toddler songs mean.
    ○ Have students come up with synonyms for words in their favorite songs.
    ○ For example, what other words could you use to describe the spider instead of “itsy bitsy”?
  • Use songs to teach new skills or behaviors.
    ○ Repetition helps us remember things! So if you combine a song with a new skill, your students will remember how to do that skill more easily.
  • Use songs to help make transition time easier.
    ○ When it is time to clean up supplies, pack up for the end of the day, or line up for lunch, having a song to facilitate that transition will make it much easier on your students.
  • Add a music center to your classroom.
    ○ This could include audiobooks of nursery rhymes, headphones for students to listen to and sing along with songs, and musical instruments. (Braynard, 2008)

How to incorporate singing at home or in a homeschool curriculum

  • Make singing a part of your daily routine to accompany chores and transitions.
    ○ Have your child sing with you as you clean up toys, get ready for bed, or get the bath ready.
  • Read nursery rhymes with your child, but sing the words as you follow along with the book.
  • You don’t need to just sing toddler and preschool songs.
    ○ Teach your child your favorite song or the songs you sing at your place of worship.
  • Makeup songs with your child!
    ○ They can be silly and spur of the moment. You don’t need to memorize specific songs for activities. Make up songs about your dog or cat, about all your family members, or just about nonsense topics. The more sounds your child is exposed to with singing, the stronger their foundation will be for literacy.
  • Add songs to part of your daily reading routine.
    ○ Everyone knows how important it is to read to your child, so add singing to your reading time.

It’s clear that singing is a great way to boost educational skills in your child and the benefits music has on brain development in early childhood. Don’t worry if you don’t have the best singing voice either. Your child won’t really know or care. They’ll just be glad you took the time to sing with them! It is a great emotional development activity for preschool and school-aged children that promotes social and emotional development.

Braynard, K. (2008). Sing along! You have the children’s permission. Retrieved from //
Bright Horizons. (2018). Children and music: benefits of music in child development. Retrieved from //
Schiller, P. (2008). Songs and rhymes as a springboard to literacy. Retrieved from //
Steinhoff, A. (2016). The importance of music in early childhood development. Retrieved from //